bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: re-blog

Month for Loki, Twentieth: Antagonist.

an·tag·o·nist

anˈtaɡənəst/

noun

  1. a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary.

    ~~~
    There was more… an hour’s worth of sudden realizations and navel gazing lessons and what-not expressed in 1481 words.
    But…No.
    I wasn’t important for anyone to read them.
    WordPress has the hiccups….or something.
    I hit ‘post’ and suddenly I’m met with a page containing three random letters and a blinking cursor.
    So I guess it’s no context for you.
    Meanwhile, here’s an excellent article/ritual from Thenea on WordPress concerning working through shadow-self issues with assistance from your Divine Ally to face the Divine Antagonist.
    A highly recommended read.
    Please note this ritual accesses forms from Greek narratives in its structure…but you don’t need to worship Greek gods for it to function. Feel free to substitute (your Gods) *here*

    https://magickfromscratch.com/2016/09/05/a-ritual-for-working-with-the-divine-antagonist/

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Poem

This lovely poem was shared by a friend on my social media feed this morning, and though I was skeptical that its words ‘could change one’s life,’ I will grant that its overall message is rather profound one…and personally relevant.

(Thanks Sarah!)

~~~

THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Jelaluddin Rumi,
Translation from The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks

 

the more you know

I love Brene Brown…even when she is throwing out some hard truths.

So you can gather what I am talking about, you might want to watch the video.

Y’see, I , too, am a ‘blamer.’

It’s true of me that when something bad happens, my first thought is often whose fault is this? – and, more often than not, I twist it in my head until I’ve found a reason for whatever happened.

I need to know why.  I am a person that needs to know why.

Even if -more often than not – I end up blaming myself for whatever it is that happened in some way.

Yeah.  I know that that’s unhealthy.

Yep, I thought that that was holding myself accountable.*

This mindfulness and this desire to hold myself accountable for myself and my reactions to bad things happening is often the way that my thoughts go.  And I’ve had enough therapy to know that I’m only doing half the work, too, when I stop and actually think about it.

Why is it only half the work?

Because the full work would be the realization and implementation of the fact that some bad things happen because they are random.  Sometimes there is no reason.

Yes, it’s true that sometimes bad things happen because someone wasn’t mindful of themselves or others – and I include myself in that – and rash decisions get made.   Things get broken, or feelings get hurt, or what have you, and often emotions fuel those decisions.

But the key is – the process of thinking that there has to be reason somewhere.  That there has to be a reason, there has to be a fault.  And that there has to be this endless overthinking and wasting of time and resources trying to figure out why something is, why something happened, or what led to this or that result.

As Brown points out, the fault-finding and blame is a discharge of discomfort and a desire for control of the situation, including getting control of one’s emotions and reactions.

And that gets me to thinking about my zen Buddhist therapist who speaks a continuous refrain of how I need to work on letting shit go, learning that the only person one can control is oneself and one’s reactions to the world, and the constant reminder that the only moment is the present moment.  He talks endlessly of the fact that the present is the only moment in which we can live, and how when one has realized this, and one focuses on mindfulness and control of oneself in the present moment, only then can one create inner peace and happiness.

Oh yes, it gives me a headache sometimes…this zen business.  The letting go, the reactive vs. proactive paradigm, the mindfulness — so much jargon.   I cannot deny that this all feels exhausting sometimes, and I’ll admit that I fall back upon ingrained reactive habits and value judgments, and and and….*sigh*

I wallow in self-blame, another waste of time.

So.

Yes.

I seek control.

But the only control I seek in the end is self-control.

~~~

*This video opens my eyes to the mistake I’ve made concerning what accountability is.

 

 

 

Karma, and struggling.

I found this article by Erin Pavlina this afternoon, and I thought that I would share.

It explains rather succinctly a connection that I’ve been struggling with understanding concerning karma and the Universe.

Mostly, this article inadvertently answers why it is probable that we as spiritual human beings keep running into the same situations in life over and over, and what that has to do with karma.

Check it out.

 

The part that hit me the most profoundly was this:

Karma is about being given the opportunity to change your vibration and attract something different. No one is going to inflict that upon you, but the universe will bring you ample opportunities to choose a different path.

So if you’re holding out hope that something bad will happen to another person, you’re better off releasing, forgiving, and moving on, otherwise you will attract new opportunities that involve you needing to forgive someone. Are you catching my drift here?

If you are constantly wishing negative things will happen to those who wrong you, the universe will constantly bring you people who wrong you so you can continue wishing negative things will happen to them. That’s your vibration. That’s your karma. That’s what the universe thinks you want since that’s what you’re always thinking about.

Karma is not punishment, it’s not revenge, it’s not justice. Karma is the universe giving you opportunities to alter your vibration. Do with that what you will.”

How this relates to my present situation is that I have wondered for quite a while now why I keep getting thrown into situations wherein I keep finding myself feeling echoes of the past – people I’ve hurt, people that have hurt me, and the corresponding situations that I would rather not think about.

Perhaps in focusing on the pain of what I’ve been through, I am constantly re-opening the wounds rather than doing anything to heal them.

Perhaps this is what brought Him to me:  my latest spiritual work – in working with the God that I Had Promised Myself that I Would Never Work With – I have been forced to confront all the reasons why I had refused to work with Him for so long.

I began to see that the only way to move forward was to confront the lesson that kept being presented to me over and over in seeing His face, and the echoes of that premise: If you expect a monster, you will get a monster.

Yes, He is still capable of being a monster.

But the only way to move forward in my spiritual practice is to engage with Him.

And I am engaging with Him.

The only way out is to go through.

 

12things

A Thursday Throwback: Sometimes.

Here’s a Thursday Throwback – from 21 February 2013 – that I am sharing at the request of a dear friend.

Enjoy!

~~~~

“Sometimes, He is not pretty.
Disheveled, stinking of piss and filth.
A frightening homeless man
Shouting at me from the other side of the train station:
The face that you often see is nothing but a glamour crafted to be pleasing to you.
But, sometimes, I am tired of that
face, and you will see Me as I am
An ancient being, whose face bears the ravages of time, and what appalling marks
Grief, pain and madness have inevitably made upon Me.

While it may be easy to approach Me in a finer guise,
Silk cravats and topcoats, leather and flash, I am
Also this, at My core. This is also Me.
I am bloated with rage, and careless
grime settled in the creases, compulsively licking
The blood and the spittle that collects at the corners of My ragged lips.
My yellowed, broken teeth have gnawed and ground down upon the offal and
bones of My very long memory.

I call to you
but you must approach Me.

Would you kiss My mouth?
~~~
And I see Him across the room, and His voice is interwoven with the cacophony of noise that is noon at South Station, Boston.

I cannot will my feet to go forward, but I see His eyes, the intense clear blue of Icelandic water, His disheveled hair an awkward penumbra of red and gold, His face unshaven and streaked with the filth born of having slept in the elements upon concrete. He raises a hand, and makes a beckoning gesture. Oh I see you, little one, He drawls. I notice that His fingernails are dark with grime, and He smiles, a grin of wolfen teeth, and He licks His cracked lips, waiting.

For all that He looks, His voice is not unpleasant.

But I am afraid.

I am cold, I realize, and I hug myself tighter, as if my own arms could possibly warm me enough, and yet I know that I am holding myself in.  This is me putting up all my walls and fronts.

You have so much shame, He shouts, You have learned nothing….

The rumble of the trains pulling into South Station obscures His voice, His tirade, for several minutes.

There are too many trains, I shout, I cannot hear!

He begins to laugh, shaking His head. He tilts His head, almost menacingly, working out a crick in His neck, as He continues, Oh no, my dear. It is as it is always, with you. You are too cold. You cannot hear. You have a headache. You are afraid….

He glares at me.

He pulls a cigarette from the pocket of His shabby, unseasonably thin coat. Oh, spare Me the details of all of your excuses, He snarks at me, loudly, angrily.

He reminds me of Heath Ledger’s Joker, as He wipes His sore and tattered mouth with the back of His grubby hand, before placing the cigarette deftly on the edge of His lower lip, and lights it.

A lone ribbon of smoke curls and spirals ever upward over His head, strangely unbroken and unbuffeted by the crowd and activity that surges about Him, between us.

10031491-man-smoking-cigarette-over-black-background-low-key-light-image

 

 

Come. Kiss Me. I might believe you.

 

But I cannot will my feet to go forward. I will have to push myself through this crowd, I am thinking.

The air feels thick and heavy, my head rings with high-pitched buzzing anxiety, and my skin prickles with heat.

Poor little girl, is His singsong sigh, half a sarcasm, half a reprimand, to me, as He shuffles His feet, waiting.

Come to me, He whispers, more within my head than without, and His words seem to reverberate like a humming inward chant, in my head.

Come to Me.
Come to Me.
Come to Me
.”

 

(link here)

 

Gold.

“At some point in time, I was a new thing. I was a thing that had not been hurt, had not been beaten, had not been cast out, had not been rejected. Maybe it was only for a day or two (or maybe more) but I dare to think that, once upon a time, I was even loved wholly and completely, if even for a moment. 

We all start this way: new. We all start with our hearts in tact, our spirits strong, our connection to soul and self: solid. We start with our ten fingers and ten toes and we hold that newness for as long as we can. Or for as long as life lets us….” – from Meadow DeVor’s latest post.

The above quote is taken from today’s incredibly powerful post from Meadow Devor concerning the Japanese artisan practice of kintsugi (otherwise known Kintsukuroi :(金繕い) [Japanese: golden repair] – the artistic method of repairing broken ceramic vessels with lacquers imbued with gold, silver or platinum…

And how kintsukuroi can be seen as a metaphor for spiritual self-repair and moving beyond trauma toward healing and wholeness.

 

kintsugi

 

3 Thoughts for Empaths Who Are Feeling Drained

“…When you’re feeling overwhelmed, like you have given all your energy out to others and need to recharge yourself, always remember:

1.) You deserve happiness; take time for yourself
2.) Your feelings are no less important than anyone else’s
3.) We are all connected – when you hurt yourself you are hurting others”

(Taken from this article by Hilary Gerstler)

Month for Loki, Day 18: Lost…and found.

Since I am still struggling with several overlapping illnesses at this time – ear infection, sinus infection, and general malaise – you may that I haven’t had much of the wherewithal to write these past few days.

Hence the reason that I’ve gotten so behind in keeping up with my daily posts this July in the Month for Loki.

But I have been reading a lot – and this powerful post came across my WordPress feed today, concerning Loki as a God Who is rather popular with folks who have struggled with various forms of abuse, difficulty, and dysfunction in their lives.    I agree with her especially in this:

One of the biggest groups of people who tend to find themselves interacting with Loki are those who have been abused in some way. The ones who have lost themselves and need to be guided back – who need to learn who they are again. Loki teaches us that it’s okay to not be okay. He teaches us that it’s okay to be wounded and feel the wound so that it can heal properly.

While my experiences were not exactly the same as those of Ms. Kyaza, I can relate to a lot of her experiences, especially in regards to dysfunctional family relationships.

I can definitely identify with the ambivalent feelings that arise out of having suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of those whom I trusted most to love and respect me.

In fact, there were several occasions wherein I found myself dangerously close to tears while reading her post, as her description of her thoughts and feelings about her mother and their relationship so closely resonated with my own experiences so powerfully.

Reading her post made me feel a strange mixture of feelings.

I felt both a sense of exposure and a sense of triumphant relief in reading this post.

I felt an incredible sense of exposure and shame – as in reading her words, I was so acutely reminded of the immensity of my own desire to please my mother (and in turn, my siblings) who often rejected my efforts by responding with anger, ridicule or outright dismissal.  And yet, I remember that guilt, that shame.  I had grown up feeling that somehow, if I could just do better, work harder, love more – then finally, I would receive love; I would deserve love.

And yet, while reading, I also felt an undercurrent of strange relief – here was someone who writes so eloquently of navigating emotional landmines that I understand.

I felt understood.  I felt heard.

I am not alone in this pain.

I am not the only one.

You see, I have both loved and hated my mother and my siblings – and as a result, in turn, as a woman and as a mother, I have both loved and hated myself.  I struggled – and still struggle – with the emotional scars of my upbringing.  I crave to feel understood, to feel safe, to feel loved, and yet I have been skeptical of the existence of a relationship wherein I can feel understood, safe and loved.  Sometimes, I find myself skeptical of those who have tried to nurture me, so deeply ingrained was my belief that I did not deserve even my mother’s love, the love of my brothers and sisters.

It took me years to decipher that it was not my inadequacy or failing, but the lack of self-love and incapacity to receive love that my mother (and perhaps of those even further back) suffered with that continues this horrible chain.

It affects all of my relationships. I have tried valiantly to be the mother that my own wasn’t, and yet, I still find myself wondering if I’ve fallen short, if I’ve done a disservice to my children.  As a person, I have endeavored to be emotionally reliable, compassionate, and kind, and yet, sometimes, I am a victim of my own perfectionism and pessimism, and my own distorted habits and worldviews.

I am estranged from my family, even today.

But the truth is, I am no longer estranged from myself.  I am no longer lost.

I had to learn to break the cycle of the past.  It is daily work to remain mindful of my emotional responses and reactions whenever I interact with others.  (Is it kind? Is it necessary? Am I responding from a place of love and understanding rather than from fear or anger, for example.)

I have learned to be acutely aware of my own negative self-talk and self-limiting behaviors and beliefs.  I am learning to accept myself and recognize my strengths and weaknesses, as well as accepting and recognizing that everyone else also has their own struggles with similar issues, with similar emotions, behaviors and beliefs about themselves – and none of us are perfect.  Perfection is stagnation.

I am learning to allow myself …to feel vulnerable.  To feel angry.  To be open to my own emotions and not fear the emotions, reactions, or responses of others.  I am learning to be accountable.  I am learning to let go of what doesn’t work and focus on what does.  I am learning to let go and trust the process.  Trust Him and trust myself.

Loki taught me a lot of these things.  He has taught me to embrace imperfection, to confront fear of loss or change, to let go of the need to control outcomes, to work with what I’ve been given, and most of all, to allow myself, to open myself to love.

Love the process of living, love the process of learning.

Just…LOVE.

~~~

Hail Loki, God of the lost and…found.

Thank You for finding me.

 

 

 

 

 

Month For Loki, Day 13: Lover.

fridakahlolovequote

You deserve a lover

who wants you disheveled,

with everything

and all the reasons that wake you up in a haste

and the demons that won’t let you sleep.

You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe,

who can consume this world whole

if he walks hand in hand with you;

someone who believes that his embraces

are a perfect match with your skin.

You deserve a lover

who wants to dance with you,

who goes to paradise every time

he looks into your eyes

and never gets tired

of studying your expressions.


You deserve a lover who listens when you sing,

who supports you when you feel shame

and respects your freedom;

who flies with you and isn’t afraid to fall.


You deserve a lover who takes away the lies

and brings you

hope, coffee, and poetry.


*Frida Kahlo*

(shared by Lee Harrington)